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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Archetypes

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Before I discuss tarot as a form of Jungian Pagan practice, I want, in this post, to give a little background about how I approach tarot.  

b2ap3_thumbnail_f10-0413-tarot-deck-inset.jpgTarot, for anyone who does not know, is a deck of cards that derives from a mid-15th century card game called Triumphs, which is the origin of various modern trump card games like Euchre, Bridge, and Hearts.  The tarot card deck resembles the common 52 playing cards used today, with important differences.  There are four suits: Swords, Batons (or Wands), Cups, and Coins (or Pentacles).  In addition to the King and Queen face cards, there is a Knight (which became the Jack) and a Page.  These constitute the court cards, which are also called the Minor Arcana.  In addition, there are 22 trump cards, also called the Major Arcana, with names like the Fool, the Lovers, Death, and the Hanged Man, numbered 0 to 21.  All of the cards have evocative imagery on them, which accounts for their continued appeal.  The cards are now primarily used for divination, or fortune telling, rather than as a card game.  The deck exists in many versions.  The most well known historical deck is the Tarot de Marseilles and the most well known occult deck is the Rider-Waite Tarot, but there are literally thousands of variations.

I actually discovered tarot before I discovered Paganism or Jung.  After I left the Mormon church, I found myself searching the internet for imagery.  I couldn't have said then what I was looking for, but now I realize that I was looking for symbols to fill the vacuum that had been created by the loss of the symbolic system which Mormonism had previously provided me.  I came across tarot and something about the imagery, especially the Major Arcana, was compelling to me, so I went looking for more information.

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  • Deanna Anderson
    Deanna Anderson says #
    I linked to your article from my Goodreads site (it was shared with me on Facebook). I just wrote a book about Tarot, so linked th
  • Deanna Anderson
    Deanna Anderson says #
    Very interesting! I have never seen the Major Arcana described this way but it makes sense. Great article!
  • Finn McGowan
    Finn McGowan says #
    Very interesting blog. When it comes to the Major Arcana, a study of the BOTA deck can be extremely rewarding. What the difference

Jung’s conception of the archetypes evolved over a period of a half century. In general, he tended to describe the archetypes more in biological terms (instincts, structures of the brain) in his earlier writings, and in more spiritual terms in his later writings.

saturn-goya.jpgThe Archetypes and the Parents

Jung’s conception of the archetype originated with his recognition that the personalities of the parents of a child continue to exercise a vital influence on the child, even after the parents are dead. Jung realized that the “images” of the parents survive, often in a distorted form, and continue to “lead a shadowy but nonetheless potent existence in the mind of the patient.” ("The Theory of Psychoanalysis" (1912), CW 4, P 134).  Jung called this parental image an “imago”. The imago was Jung’s first articulation of the concept of the archetype. It’s no wonder then that the mother and father archetypes were of such special importance to Jung.

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Apollo, Dionysus: meet Nietzsche. Nietzsche: Apollo, Dionysus. Part 1

This entry is a little long so I'v split it into two segments. So don't worry if you feel theres something missing in the proposed philosophy. That gets covered in the second part. Here's part 1

 

Perhaps the central theme of Neo Paganism in terms of worship is the duality of God and Goddess. These forces, separately, represent all manifestations of human experience and cultivate realms of significance in terms of correspondence. Solar energy is typically understood as masculine and a part of the metaphors belonging to the God. Conversely, the Goddess offers lunar metaphors. The masculine concepts of deity are understood to be penetrative, the feminine, receptive. The list of correspondences extends toward literally everything in existence as all properties are believed to come from one of these opposing sources. Additionally, the Neo Pagan duality of worship stresses harmony and balance between the two gendered ideas. The one cannot survive without the other, the other invigorates the one. As the most intimate medium of understanding the world is indeed gender (within the context of western contemporary society), the metaphoric understanding of deity through gender provides an avenue of connection for worshipers and adherents of Neo Paganism. This essay is not to lambaste the gendered binary understanding of deity or the world, but to provide an alternative perspective on the duality of deity. Offered will be a short exploration of the Apollonian and Dionysian world views in context with previous examinations of said topic and a contemporary application of the worldviews within the context of Neo Paganism.

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  • Travis Crockett
    Travis Crockett says #
    I think you both have made excellent points. Terrence: I agree the duality Im interpreting does lean very closely to the wicca ide
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    I would agree with Terrance that Neo-Paganism is more multi-vocal than the assertion of duality of God and Goddess. Many Goddess f
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    "Perhaps the central theme of Neo Paganism in terms of worship is the duality of God and Goddess." If you replace "Neo Paganism"

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Through Our Soles, Our Souls

A light rain falls in these California redwoods. I am walking back to my nest, the VW camper van that is my home for the next week at Witchcamp where I have come to be with witches of all genders from all over the world. It is dark: no Moon is visible, though Her fullness above the clouds makes Her presence felt, tugging on every cell of my body’s oceans. It is not a cold night, damp but surprisingly mild. There is a small footbridge crossing the shallow stream before I get to where I am parked. I am alone in the sweet darkness. Walking to the edge of camp after the opening ritual. I am still barefoot, shoes in hand, and, instead of taking the bridge, I wade into the creek. It flows around my ankles and halfway up my calves. It is also surprisingly warm and so I stop and turn off my flashlight and let my skin do what it does best: feel. There are no more shoes for me at Witchcamp, this is too powerful a place, too powerful an experience to miss anything through the soles of my soul.

The next day someone asks, “Don’t those rocks at the stream’s edge hurt to walk on?” I reply, “I go barefoot a lot. I have Hobbit feet.” But the truth is that if I walked on those rocks the way I do in shoes, it would hurt. The faster pace and heavier trod would bruise me. Yet, because I am barefoot, I walk slower, lighter, with greater intention. And, because I am barefoot, I don’t have to avoid the mud puddles in those first few days of camp before the sun finally dries out the ground mid-week. I can, with glee and full abandon, splash right in and feel the mud squish between my toes.

As the week progresses we dive into the myth of the Sumerian goddess Inanna. Together we descend into the underworld realm of her sister, the goddess Ereskigal. I walk Her descent barefoot. In the story, Ereskigal strips her sister of something at each of the seven gates to the underworld until Inanna finally arrives naked. As we wade deeply in the story, I too relive a time thirteen years ago when my life was stripped away. The memory is vivid as if it were seeping up from the forest floor through the cells of my soles.

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  • Kalyca Schultz
    Kalyca Schultz says #
    This reminds me of nature defiicit disorder, which I've been meaning to read more about. Communing in/with Nature is certainly the
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thank you for your blessings to me, and blessings on your barefoot experiments Kalyca. I do hope Witchcamp may be in your future,
  • Tammy
    Tammy says #
    This post resonated with me on a very personal level. I have been travelling the path of not-knowing the past few years. I am slow

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
We connect by telling each other stories. We can better understand ourselves by recognizing and exploring our life narratives. Your life story is the tale that you repeatedly tell yourself about who you are, what you want, and what you can and cannot do.” – From the book What Story Are You Living?
 
It can be difficult to discover personal meaning and purpose when we don't zoom out to get a big picture of the patterns we are living. One way we can discover these patterns is through exploring the narrative threads woven through our preferences and behaviors. These narratives, or personal stories, arise from archetypes—or universal templates, themes and symbols—that resonate cross-culturally. 
 
According to author Carol Pearson, Ph.D., there are twelve main archetypal patterns along the three stages of the “hero’s journey”, which map out the progression to individuation. Rather than a linear journey, Dr. Pearson explains that the path is actually a spiral one, where we re-visit previous stages and themes with increasing awareness and wisdom.
 
In this journey, we “play out” twelve main archetypal patterns identified by Dr. Pearson: Innocent, Orphan, Warrior, Caregiver, Seeker, Lover, Destroyer, Creator, Ruler, Magician, Sage and Jester. To identify the main stories we are living, Dr. Pearson, along with Dr. Hugh Marr, has created the PMAI—the Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator. 
 
What Story Are You Living? by Pearson and Marr provides two self-scoring PMAI instruments that have been scientifically validated. In addition, this fascinating book—written at an eighth-grade reading level—explains mythic stories, how we live out particular narratives, archetypal stages of the journey and more. In addition, the authors explain the gifts and shadow sides of archetypes, showing readers how to work with archetypes, face the challenges of modern life and analyze the heroic journey unique to every person.
 
Archetypes with the lowest scores in the PMAI can also shed light on life patterns, including disowned parts of the self, dormant archetypes, “allergy” (overexposure to an archetype) and more. 
 
About half of the book is dedicated to the exploration of the twelve archetypes. For each archetype, the authors provide a corresponding mythological story, a commentary on the story, and an examination of the archetypal character through film and literature. For example, Harry Potter, Voldemort, Merlin and Darth Vader all embody a form of the Magician archetype. Scholars, wise oracles, guides and detectives tend to exemplify the Sage archetype.

What Story Are You Living? also discusses the imagery of each pattern (for example, an opening flower, the beginning of spring, all forms of art and the sun all represent the Creator archetype), including how each manifests in nature, spirituality and leadership. 
 
The authors also explain what others appreciate about each archetype, the gifts, highest potential, tendencies to guard against, likely courses of action when problems arise, and beneficial actions or qualities. 
 
The results from PMAI scores and the wealth of practical information found in the book can serve to foster understanding and compassion for oneself, others and groups. By recognizing the archetypal stories lived by others—as well as ourselves—we can come to realize that others aren’t necessarily “wrong” or even “bad”, but simply see the world through a narrative lens different from our own.
 
Dr. Pearson and Dr. Marr stress that the PMAI instrument and the book aren’t to be used to “trump” others in an attitude of one-upmanship, nor is it to be used to fix others. Indeed, they explain that the best authority on your life—including preferred archetypal patterns—is YOU.
 
What Story Are You Living? also serves as a comprehensive workbook, inviting readers to examine their childhood memories, favorite myths and fairytales, troubling times and satisfying/fulfilling times. By fleshing out memories and perspective spanning our entire life, we can then ascertain the overall plot of our current life stories—including pitfalls and strengths. 
 
The Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator and this book can help you:
 
• Discover the archetypal patterns and themes that are unconsciously influencing your life
 
• Replace unproductive life patterns by awakening unrealized potential
 
• Discover hidden strengths, motivational triggers and new career directions
 
• Improve personal and workplace relationships
 
For years now, I’ve been a student of archetypal theories. However, some authors, like Caroline Myss, seem to over-complicate the topic by hair-splitting and over-specification. I’ve seen individuals debate Detective versus Scholar versus Librarian versus Truth Seeker—when, to me, they seemed to be expressions of the same unifying archetype. And, in What Story Are You Living?, the authors explain that all of these patterns fall under the Sage archetype.
 
I appreciated the engaging style of this book, as well as the immensely pragmatic approach of the authors. The intricacies offered for each archetypal pattern was utterly uncanny, making it quite easy to spot the main patterns of my family and myself! My main archetypal patterns at present are Sage (28), Creator (28), Magician (26) and Warrior (25), and these patterns do indeed comprise the “myths” that I live by. 
 
I laughed aloud (rather ruefully!) when I read that one of the Creator’s tendencies is to “reduce life to raw material for art”. I’ve been known to “pause” a scene from my life—a situation I’m actually experiencing in “real time”—to take notes for an idea or creative project! (Not very subtle, I know…but you should read the funny example of this very inclination from the book!) 
 
The Creator archetype also explained to me why I have a “highly developed critical sense”, which can work in positive ways (reviewing and editing), but also manifest in rather destructive tendencies (strong inner critic that can undermine the confidence of self and others). This archetypal pattern also helped me realize why I strenuously avoid the “ordinary, shallow and the mundane”—which can border on elitist attitudes (*wince*).
 
My childhood fascination with Nancy Drew and the detectives of Agatha Christie was also explained, as was my fondness for books, libraries, mysteries, research and “the truth” (Sage). In fact, a combination of two of my highest scores—Sage and Magician—explained my penchant for crystal balls and oracles (after all, I AM a Tarot reader!)
 
If you’re looking for a practical workbook and test to discover the archetypes that drive your life, What Story Are You Living? serves as a fantastic resource for individuals, groups, therapists and coaches. You CAN become the “hero” of your own journey, but the first step is uncovering the powerful archetypal stories that influence your thinking, perspective and behavior. 
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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Whether through myth, fairy tale or film, one of the most easily recognized archetypes is that of the Mother. Archetypes are universally understood patterns of behavior that transcend geography, ethnicity or era.

Triple goddesses spanning many cultures have three expressions: Maiden, Mother and Crone. The Maiden, or Virgin, reflects independent women who are often unmarried. The Mother is the second stage heralded by fertility and growth. The last stage, Crone, is the archetypal expression of the “wise old woman” who has come into her own. Perhaps the most popular Goddess Triad found in mythology is Persephone (Maiden), Demeter (Mother), and Hecate (Crone).

The Greek goddess Demeter (known as Ceres in Roman mythology) was the goddess of the grain, and is one of the most well known maternal goddesses. In the classic myth, Demeter was one of the 12 Olympian gods and goddesses and had a daughter, Persephone. One day, Persephone was out picking flowers when the ground split, and out rode Hades atop a chariot drawn by black horses. Hades abducted Persephone into the underworld, and when Demeter found out, she was devastated. Demeter roamed for nine days without food and water looking for her kidnapped daughter. Demeter was so consumed with her grief that nothing grew, and nothing could be born. Persephone was eventually restored to Demeter, but her daughter had to spend two-thirds of the year with Hades.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

"Scorn not the Gods: Despite their non-existence in material terms, they're no less potent, no less terrible.  The one place Gods inarguably exist is in our minds where they are real beyond refute, in all their grandeur and monstrosity."

-- Alan Moore, From Hell

"But are the archetypes real?"  This is a question that haunts any discussion of the archetypes, especially discussions of the gods as archetypes.  I have made the argument here and here that the polytheistic experience of deities can be explained in Jungian terms as archetypes.  But the question of the ontological nature of the archetypes remained unanswered. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I've been fascinated with Archetypes for well over a decade. It's one reason I blog on the topic (along with Symbols) here at PaganSquare.

Turns out that Caroline Myss, a modern pioneer on Archetypes is out with a new book on the topic (that's coming under fire on Amazon from seasoned fans of her work) called Archetypes: Who Are You?. I guess it's a watered down version of Sacred Contracts that reads like a commercial tie-in.

Myss has partnered with the founder of Philosophy body products (I think it is). So I came across a potentially cool site based on her newest book: ArchetypeMe.com

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  • Cea Noyes
    Cea Noyes says #
    I'm not entirely certain that these are "archetypes" in the same way that Jung defined archetypes but, be that as it may be. This
  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    Hi Cea! Glad you enjoyed the test. I happened to come across a quote from Jung today in Joseph Campbell's The Hero With a Thousa
  • Cea Noyes
    Cea Noyes says #
    Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I think you have it. The quiz deals not with symbols, but with specific concepts. If

Last time, I talked about how Jungian archetypes, far from being mere metaphors for natural and psychological processes, can accurately be described as "gods".  In this post, I want to discuss how the experience of Jung's archetypes closely resembles Polytheists' descriptions of their encounter with the gods. 

It is not uncommon for Pagans to draw on Jung’s concept of archetypes to explain the nature of Pagan deities.  Polytheists*, however, often reject Jungian or archetypal explanations of the gods because they seem reductive, and such explanations do not seem to account for the Polytheistic experience of the gods as “actual beings with independence, volition, and power”.  When Polytheists hear the gods described as archetypes, they may hear the speaker telling them that it is "all in your head".  In addition, talk about “archetypes” can seem abstract, which is inconsistent with the Polytheists' experience of the gods in all their specificity.  For example, the "Mother archetype" may not evoke the same devotion among Polytheists as the goddesses Demeter or Kali do. 

But is Jung’s theory of the archetypes really inconsistent with the experience Polytheists?  Is it possible that the archetypes have been misunderstood by many Polytheists and Pagans alike? 

Jung in dialogue with the archetypes

The way that many Pagans have applied Jung’s theories does admittedly render a divinity which is psychologized and abstract.  But Jung’s own description of the experience of the archetypes was very different.  Jung engaged his unconscious through a technique called “active imagination”, which he also taught to his patients.  Active imagination involves inducing a kind of trace or “twilight consciousness”, of the type which we experience just before falling asleep -- a waking dream, if you will.  Then Jung would attempt to consciously interact with the images that emerged. 

In his semi-autobiographical, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Jung writes about how he would dialogue with archetypal images, like his "anima", a muse-like mediating archetype.  The fact that Jung would talk to the archetypal images of his unconscious, by itself, is not all the surprising; but the fact that the images responded to him -- actually talked back to him -- is surprising.  (Jung admitted that he sometimes feared for his sanity.) 

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  • B. T. Newberg
    B. T. Newberg says #
    >Jung's concern, like in the others in the psychoanalytic school, would be with something influencing our behavior that we are not
  • John Halstead
    John Halstead says #
    Jung said it is the project of several lifetimes.
  • John Halstead
    John Halstead says #
    I didn't mean to imply that he thought it could be avoided, just that the point is to work toward ever greater levels of conscious

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

Magician Cropped 300
The Magician from the Snowland Deck

You’ve just put down yet another Harry Potter book, relishing the time spent among wizards, house elves and boggarts. Or maybe you’ve had the privilege of watching Criss Angel’s live show, BeLIEve, at the Luxor in Vegas, or reserve a front seat on your couch every week to watch his TV show Mindfreak. Alternatively, you may be a fan of the beloved Oz books by L. Frank Baum, or an avid devotee of the Wizard of Oz starring Judy Garland.

Guess what? You’ve just spent time in the presence of the Magician archetype.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

It can be difficult to discover personal meaning and purpose when we don't zoom out to get a big picture of the patterns and symbols in our life. One way we can discover the patterns and purposes of our life is by discerning prevalent Archetypes and symbols.

What is an archetype? An archetype is a template or original pattern from which copies are made. Psychologist Carl Jung, author Joseph Campbell, storyteller/author Clarissa Pinkola Estes, psychologist Jean Shinonda-Bolen and others are among those that have brought the concept of Archetypes into our consciousness. 

To break it down in practical, every day terms, Archetypes are patterns that are universally recognized. We see Archetypes in myths, fairy tales, literature, and movies. Think about your own life. Which types of movies do you like? Do you consistently cast yourself in the Hero role? The Underdog or Victim? The Detective? What about the Warrior, Princess, or Femme Fatale? 

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  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    Thanks for further sharing your perspective, John!
  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    Hi John, As I mentioned in my post, others have built upon what Jung postulated (Myss, Shinoda Bolen, Carol Pearson etc.). concer
  • John Halstead
    John Halstead says #
    Actually, most Pagan and New Age authors who draw on Jung, do not build on his ideas, but rather present a stripped down version o

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