Tuesday, July 15, 2014

the deal with archetypes

Inspired by one of my favorite bloggers, I recently read the book Sacred Contracts by Caroline Myss, and started delving into archetype studies. Myss's work as a medical intuitive led her to the concept of sacred contracts--basically the idea that we all come to Earth having made covenants with each other, to help each other out along our paths of spiritual growth.

She explains that to help us understand and actually fulfill our ends of our sacred contracts with others, we are all born with a set of twelve primary archetypes, including universal ones like the Inner Child, and other ones "drawn from the vast storehouse of archetypes dating back to the dawn of human history. They play valuable roles that relate to our work, our relationships with individuals and society, as well as to our spirituality, finances, values, and our highest potential."

She goes on to explain how the awareness of archetypes is nothing new--even Plato was aware of them (and called them "Forms"). Jung built on this idea; Myss writes:
The Avenging Angel is one example of an archetype.
For Jung, archetypes comprised psychological patterns derived from historical roles in life, such as the Mother, Child, Trickster, and Servant, as well as universal events or situations, including Initiation or Death and Rebirth. Along with our individual personal unconscious, which is unique to each of us, Jung asserted, "there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature that is identical in all individuals." This collective unconscious, he believed, was inherited rather than developed, and was composed mainly of archetypes.
She goes on to explain that your personal archetypes "provide the foundation for your personality, drives, feelings, beliefs, motivations, and actions."

 I urge you to go check out her site for more information about all of that. I really cut out a lot. She obviously has a whole book out about this stuff, so... if you're interested, read it!

Discovering Your Archetypes

Now, in her book, Myss suggests that a person should take their time and select archetypes that are meaningful to them. But at the same time, she explains how she first happened upon the idea of archetypes--by intuitively looking at people and "seeing" their surrounding archetypes through second sight. This implies that these archetypes are with you whether or not you choose them... that you might pick an archetype you like that isn't one of the twelve an intuitive might actually see near you.

You can gamble with more than just money.
For myself, I decided to skip the pondering part of my own archetype chart, and I just muscle tested on it all until I had a full chart. It took a while, but I didn't have to think about it! Ha! I tested first, and then I looked at what I got.

But when it was all done, I wondered if I'd done the right thing. I got some that didn't seem to make any sense. The Gambler? I've never gambled--okay, except that one time when I was like 11 at Vegas with my dad and he gave me a few quarters for the slot machines. Such a one-time thing hardly seems like enough of a gambling background to warrant the Gambler as one of my primary twelve archetypes.

Similarly, I got the Beggar (?) and the Exorcist (???), and was very weirded out by it all, because the archetypes that had tested so strongly as being mine just didn't seem to fit. The concept of begging has always been just horrifying to me, and... exorcism?? ...okay...???

It was only after I really pondered them that I saw how well they really did fit after all.

Personalizing the Archetypes

 A beggar.
For example, my Gambler is in the house of spirituality--and the Gambler is all about beating the odds, taking risks, expecting big pay-offs. Who but a Ninth-House Gambler would commit to follow 100% of everything non-logical that came up in her life? What a giant risk! But it was one made out of an expectation of spiritual reward. That's just one example, but once I thought about it, I realized that the Gambler archetype is a huge player in my life--the more I think about it, the more it makes sense.

Same with the Beggar; same with the Exorcist; and same with the obvious ones, like in my case, the Researcher and the Wounded Caregiver (a subset of Wounded Healer). The more I've thought about them, the more they've made sense to me. And, more importantly, the more I've been able to use them to recognize my own destructive tendencies.

Using Your Knowledge of Archetypes for Good

For example, my Saboteur is in my House of Good Fortune. Sure enough, every time I'm onto something good in my life, it seems I just sabotage it for myself.

Well, now I'm aware of that tendency. So I can change it. When I enter situations involving creative energies, for example, I can take a step back and realize: I am so in danger of sabotaging myself, it's not funny. And then I can think: how will I change this?

Wow, this blog entry is becoming a lot about me! Well, my story is the only one I know I am fully authorized to tell in this regard, so, oh well. This is an introduction to how understanding my own archetypes has helped me in my life.

I am a researcher at heart.
The point is, when it comes to discovering people's archetypes, I do recommend muscle testing on it, because it saves time and turns out to be, I believe, more accurate than just picking ones that you wish were in your top twelve. If I'd just picked my own archetypes off the list, I never would have chosen the Gambler or the Beggar; I never would have even found the Researcher, because the Researcher isn't on the official list of archetypes! It was just that when I muscle tested for my final archetype, I couldn't find it in the list, and then I had to go down the letters of the alphabet (does this archetype's name start with the letter A? B? C? and on down the list) until I got to R and intuitively knew that it must be the Researcher.


The other option is, you can hire me to assess your archetypes for you! It's kind of fun. I feel like I have definitely grown in my understanding of myself since I assessed my own archetypes and I do recommend it if you believe in the idea of sacred contracts or if you just want to get to know yourself better.

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