I’ve been studying and working with archetypes since the early noughties but it was finally in 2018 that I became a Certified Archetypal Consultant with Caroline Myss, though I think I’ve been speaking archetype since I was born! I’ve always had a poetic consciousness and loved the symbolic life – sensing what’s mythic – since hearing Lithuanian narrative folklore as a child.
In 2016 I flew to Boulder, Colorado to attended Robert Ohotto’s intensive archetypal teaching on ‘Activating the Holographic Power of Your Potential: From the Dark Night to Rebirth’ and again in 2019 for his ‘You Can Do Magic: Exploring the Power of Your Destiny Archetypes’ masterclass. I also began presenting my interpretation of archetypes at the C. G. Jung Society of Sydney. I am also passionate about the fields of archetypal psychology and archetypal cosmology.
Archetypes are a symbolic language of the universe and are a map to help us read life. They are said to be psychic power patterns dwelling in the deeper layers of the unconscious. They are a system of living consciousness. These universal patterns of power drive us. These patterns become verbs, not nouns, which penetrate and influence the quality of our lives. They enable us to access deeper levels of insight, wisdom and creative energy that exist beyond the limits of the rational, linear mind.
But to keep it really simple, let’s just say archetypes are patterns. Being lost in the forest is an archetype – a pattern – as much as the ritual of marriage. They are universal patterns of the human psyche: patterns of instinct, impulse, survival, fate, destiny and soul. Archetypes don’t just structure behaviour, but they also influence our imagination, perception, ideas and choices. Now it’s not to say that these universal patterns and experiences define us, but rather, they reveal us.
“All the most powerful ideas in history go back to archetypes.” - C. G. Jung
I want to mention three aspects of archetypes. Firstly, they are neutral, but have a light and shadow quality and are both creative and destructive. For example, the archetype of mother can be expressed as the good mother as much as it can the devouring mother. They are the tension of a perfect equilibrium. Put simply, the imperative to wholeness is preferable to one-sided perfection, the condition of being only good, to exist only in the light. As Jung said, “You can either be good or whole, but not both.”
Please note that the term ‘shadow’ when used in regards to archetypes refers to all that is unknown or yet to be known in you. It’s not meant to imply negative, dark, bad or wrong. Yet it is often the unknown parts of ourselves that cause us the most chaos in our lives. When we unmask the shadow aspects of ourselves we can then harness that power consciously. And we can do this in a way that isn’t about ‘fixing,’ ‘getting rid of’ and ‘disidentifying’ but meeting our rogue elements with love. It’s not about activating more shame and reinforcing it so the Perfectionist archetype is running the show.
This work is not about energising duality. We’re always in a spectrum of our esteem system. We’re not always solar but in the synthesis of our inner and outer worlds. Just as the goddess Persephone is both life’s daughter and death’s bride, and the god Apollo is sunshine and clarity, as well as dark and wrathful, we ventilate our psyches by allowing all parts to be. We approach healing and metamorphosis from an alchemical and mystical perspective.
Secondly, archetypes aren’t literal. They are symbolic and metaphorical. To make meaning, we can’t enter through logic. We must go through symbols. It’s through entering the symbolic realm that we gain access to the power of archetypes.
And thirdly, while archetypes are ancient, impersonal and universal, they become personalised when our individual psyche engages them. Impersonal in the sense that you aren’t an Addict but the pattern of addiction is active in you. You aren’t a Saboteur but you are currently engaging a pattern of sabotage. That while you may be struggling to place a value on your worth and give your soul currency, so does everyone else with the Prostitute archetype.
We aren’t alone but share the common experiences of being a human being. And we’ll never be more powerful than a pattern, until we realise why our psyche recruited it.
© 2020 Kristina Dryza