Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a whole team of motivated helpers to call on? Ones who truly cared about you and would help you step toward your true potential with great power and grace.
Well, that is how an archetype can help you. Now let’s explore what heck is an archetype.
In a nutshell, archetypes are a metaphoric representation of the unique roles and personalities seeking expression in your life.
You can think of archetypes as symbolic messengers—a team of inner guides—who seek to steer your life toward your destiny, or away from it depending upon which guides you’re giving the most power and control over your choices. More on that in a bit…
The Beginning of Archetypes
We can find evidence of the use of archetypes that dates back to ancient Greece during the of Plato, who called them “Forms”.
Then early in the early 20th century, the great Swiss psychologist Carl Jung developed this idea further. For Jung, archetypes were comprised of psychological patterns derived from historical roles in life, such as Mother, Child, Trickster, Prince, Servant and so on.
Modern Day Mystic Leads Archetypal Movement
Now since 2002, well-known medical intuitive, author and teacher Caroline Myss has further developed Jung’s work on archetypes. She brings archetypes to us as a way of determining what she calls your “Sacred Contract” which encompasses all the archetypes and the agreements your soul made prior to arriving on earth. Myss has written an entire book about this subject, also called “Sacred Contracts” and she trains those people (like me) who are called to do Archetypal Readings.
“Sacred Contract Consultants” as Caroline calls us help people become acquainted with their own cast of 12 archetypal “roles” or “personalities.” Then you learn to work consciously with them, and discover the gifts and talents that each archetype contributes to you. You also learn about the shadow expressions that each can exert in your life, work, relationships and health.
Personally, I like to think of archetypes as roles that we play. And after you work with them for a while, you will find very definite signature personality patterns unique to each role. The practice is to be aware of which archetypes are in the forefront during any given circumstance or even on a given day. They don’t all “come out” at the same time. Different archetypes come forward throughout your life depending upon what challenges and changes (or even fun) you are currently experiencing.
The Caretaker Archetype
When “Jane” recognized that she had the Caretaker archetype in her cast of 12, many of the challenges she had been facing finally started to make sense to her. When I first met Jane, she had Chronic Fatigue and was struggling to manage her day-to-day work. Jane had endless requests for her time and felt guilty saying no to just about anything. (This is also how the shadow Saboteur operates.)
Jane realized the pattern within this archetype was playing out in her family and her role as a mother. She took care of every one’s “needs” and no one seemed to notice she had needs of her own. Once she recognized her Shadow Caretaker at work she was able to set boundaries and began taking time to care for her self.
At first her family members resisted this change in her. So she had to remain resolute and activate her “Athena Goddess” archetype (a warrior Goddess who represents great strength and clear thinking) to support her. Then, once her family noticed the positive changes in Jane, and in her health, they began to support her.
The Hero Archetype
“James” was a marketing copywriter and had the Hero archetype. And his shadow Hero was often in charge as he seemed to find clients and situations where he thought he could save the day. The problem was that he would often over-estimate his abilities and fail to anticipate the pitfalls that were there. And whenever he saw he was falling short of his goal, he would retreat and leave his clients hanging. Not a good way to build a stable business.
Once he recognized this pattern, he was able to shift his entire career direction to align himself more closely with his values. Now his empowered Hero could begin to shine.
The Princess Archetype
One of the most challenging archetypes for me from the shadow standpoint is the “Princess.” This one has been strong for me. A princess in the royal family “expects” certain entitlements and favors. (And of course I can always go for that). The Princess tends to expect people to respect them and do things for them, especially the men in their lives. In its shadow form, the Princess can easily play dumb and helpless around a man, and have him doing all sorts of things she could easily do herself.
Fortunately my husband, Mark doesn’t always play along. He will sometimes look at me when I have this certain “princessy” look as he calls it that says, “I am not doing that! That is not a job for a Princess!” The last time it happened (a few months ago) was at the local transfer station, where we take our weekly trash and recyclables. It is smelly, dirty and grimy and I just cannot stand to get out of the car. (And Mark seems to indulge me with this one). So we are both conscious of the little princess and can simply laugh about it most of the time.
The Lighter Side of Archetypes
Now keep in mind every archetype also has its light and bright side as well as the shadow. The Caretaker in her light vibration is the most devoted and compassionate companion. And as we have explored already the shadow takes care of every one even at the expense of its own well-being. Many gifted people in the healing arts and those who work for disadvantaged people can have this archetype.
The Hero archetype in ancient Greek or Roman literature is often portrayed as one who must confront an increasingly difficult path of obstacles in order to birth his manhood.
The Hero has a rescuer facet to his or her personality and so will work well in any emergency or when working to help build something bigger than him/herself that empowers others. Often you hear of the Hero’s Journey, made popular by the late Joseph Campbell, as a journey of initiation to awaken an inner knowing and spiritual power.
The Princess in her light vibration is regal, graceful, gracious, compassionate, loving and generous. Think of the late Princess Diana of England. She loved connecting with and supporting the people of her community.
How Your Archetypes Can Help You
Your Sacred Contract as we talked about earlier embodies a support structure of 12 archetypes. Again think of them as your intimate companions—your inner helpers and guides moving you toward self-empowerment. They provide the foundation for your many personality traits, as well as your drives, feelings, beliefs, motivations and actions. They are not passive. Archetypes take an active role as guardians and inner allies alerting you when you are in danger of falling into a destructive “shadow” behavior. Then with this awareness you are truly free to make more powerful and open-hearted choices.
The Four Survival Archetypes
When we are unaware of emotional patterns or the way we perceive things or our hidden attitudes and beliefs, they run us. And there are four primary archetypes that begin to reveal these unaware areas; Saboteur, Prostitute, Victim and Child. These are the four allies for our growth that each one of us must face in ourselves in order to make choices based on our true values.
I like to start an Archetypal Reading by helping my clients get to know the four survival archetypes and how each one may be playing out in their life. You can begin to get a feel for them in the following descriptions.
The Saboteur Archetype teaches us about our relationship to truth. What is really true for you and can you speak it and live it? Where do you sabotage your own dreams, your own talent, your own opportunities, your own truth? Do you speak up for yourself, or conversely put your foot in your mouth by saying something offensive. What do you lie about? And what reasons do you give to justify it. What stops you from telling the truth. Also how do you betray yourself?
The Prostitute Archetype teaches us how (and in what circumstances) we tend to sell ourselves out. For example this can show up as choosing to stay in a job or relationship for only the financial security it offers, especially when you “know” it is time to move on.
I am reminded of Bernie Maddoff, the man who spent years ripping off millions of investors. Not only did he sabotage himself and his investors, his greed and his Prostitute became wicked companions.
The Prostitute archetype is also about negotiating with your guidance (or God) for your requirements in order to feel safe or have guaranteed success. For example, do you ever find yourself trying to make a deal with the Divine by saying something like, “Well, if you promise me great success, I will of course take the next step, otherwise no deal…?”
The Prostitute archetype can also show up as under valuing (or not valuing) your natural strengths and gifts, or as not wanting to rock the boat or venture too far into the unknown.
The Victim Archetype reminds us to be responsible for our choices. Nearly everyone will experience betrayal at least once in their lives and feel victimized.
Think of all those investors who turned their money over to Maddoff, yes they were victims of the scheme, yet they also sabotaged themselves by failing to do proper due diligence.
In order to become a fully integrated and responsible human being, you will have to learn how to give up blame and let your Victim archetype teach you about your own greed or pride or whatever part you may have played in any circumstance.
And if you were victimized as a child physically and/or emotionally, in order to heal, you will need to learn how to forgive.This is most difficult for the Wounded Child and is an inherent lesson for this archetype.
The Child Archetype can show up in several expressions. We have Orphan Child, Wounded Child, Invisible Child, Magical/Innocent Child, Nature Child, Divine Child or Puer/Puella Eternis (eternal boy or girl).
And the greatest insights here can be found in the Child that most closely matches your pattern since childhood. Each expression of the Child archetype also has its unique gifts and challenges. Look at the gifts and lessons offered by the Child archetype you have. Then explore when the shadow Child shows up in place of your adult, and what it does to get your attention or get its way.
Archetypes and Self Discovery
The path of discovering your archetypes and how they will help you to grow and manage your power is rich and rewarding. You will learn more about yourself and how to see your life and world events symbolically.
Getting to know the lessons inherent within your cast of 12 Archetypes will reveal your Sacred Contract to you. By answering the question What is an archetype, you will finally be aware of this dynamic team of inner helpers, faithfully leading you toward your highest potential. And this will help you to know and appreciate the meaning and purpose of your life at a deep and profound level.♥
Desirée Watson is a transformational coach and trainer who specializes in helping people transform their lives and career from where they are to where they want to be. For more information or to schedule an Archetypal Reading go to CoachDesiree.com.