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Archetypes July 17, 2010

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Ever since I was introduced to the 4 archetypes by Carolyn Myss – the saboteur, the victim, the prostitute, and the child – my level of awareness has gone from ordinary to superlative. Who knew we all had these shadowy reflections of our inner selves lurking just beneath the conscious mind?

Anyone who has taken a psychology class has read about and/or studied the great Pioneer of Transpersonal Psychology, Carl Jung. His premise was that there was a relationship between the conscious and the unconscious. He termed the word individuation to mean a process of self growth that linked the ego to the self. He said the ego was the conscious and the self was the center of the collective whole (the unconscious and the conscious). He conceptualized the idea that we were all born with inherited predispositions that caused us to act and behave in certain ways. These predispositions are what he defined as archetypes, which (if left understood) would yield somewhat of a negative undertone when (in actuality) they are neutral forces. It is our perception and labeling of good and bad that have given our archetypes an uninterested connotation.

Caryolyn Myss, one of my favorite mystic authors, is a medical intuitive and has been in the filed of energy medicine and human consciousness for over 20 years.  In her book, Sacred Contracts and Advanced Energy Anatomy, she goes in to the 4 survival archetypes in great detail in how these ancient universal patterns of behavior are deeply imbedded in to the collective unconscious. These archetypes are fundamental forces that exist beyond our conscious knowing. They show up in our thoughts and actions and are repetitive in nature. All 4 archetypes are present in each and every one of us and although they are universal in nature, some are more dominant than others depending upon our heritage and upbringing.

Getting to know these unconscious patterns and behaviors is to embody the soul. We all think, feel, and experience the world in different ways and when we experience life through an unconscious lens, we are living and reacting to life through fear and vulnerability, but if we allow yourselves to awaken and live life more consciously, we are able to live and experience life from a place of love.

I was intrigued by the notion that there could actually be psychological reasoning for the maddening unconscious behaviors that exist within all of us. Could these archetypes really open us up to a greater understanding of ourselves and the unconscious patterns we create in the psyche? As I began to understand each individual role, I slowly and painfully became aware of their energy. Before the idea of unconscious patterning, I simply lost myself in the shadow of these archetypes that took up residence in the unconscious mind.

I began to witness myself metamorphosing in to character and I could hear myself saying, “What are you doing? This isn’t you.” But it was me…the unconscious me…the wounded child me…the victim me…the prostitute me…the saboteur me. They were the me’s I hid behind in order to protect myself from being physically and/or emotionally hurt. It was safer to plunge in the vast expanse of illusion than to be confronted with the reality of life. When we’re ignorant we are safe and not responsible for the truth so we fall prey to the shadow side of our archetypes who play out the same story over and over again in an attempt to feel safe.

With awareness comes responsibility so I can no longer hide behind the shadow of these archetypes. I have to step out and be my authentic self. I have to have the courage to be who I truly am and the shadows help me do this. They surface to give us insight in to ourselves. They give us the tools and power to heal the burdensome past. They help us let go of the baggage we’ve been carrying around for years, but we have to get to know them and understand them and welcome them as our allies. If we don’t take the necessary step to understanding them and the roles they play, we will continue to remain stuck in the behaviors and patterns of the shackling past.

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